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Pakistani pilgrims visit Charar-e-Sharief

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | October 27, 2004 15:13 IST

Twelve Pakistani pilgrims prayed at the historic shrine of Kashmir's patron saint, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Wali, at Charar-e-Sharief in central Budgam district on Wednesday.

The pilgrims, including nine from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, reached Charar-e-Sharief late Tuesday and were received by the locals, who led them to the shrine.

"We are on a peace mission. We don't have any political motives. But we believe that the issues between the two countries should be solved peacefully. War is not a solution," Sardar Alam Khan, who headed the delegation, said after the prayers.

They offered a chadar at the Sufi saint's mausoleum, which was completely gutted following a fierce gun battle between militants and troops in May 1995.

"We want to promote peace and friendship between India and Pakistan. There is no politics involved in our visit," Malik Mukhtar Ahmad, a retired music director of Radio Pakistan, said.

On Kashmir he, however, said, "We Kashmiris have a unique history. We abhor violence and we are not a property of either India or Pakistan. Both should leave us alone to decide our own future. The people to people contact will help in breaking the deadlock."

Asked to comment on Pakistan President Parvez Musharraf's options to resolve the Kashmir issue, Mir Bashir Sultan, a journalist, said, "We don't want a division of Jammu and Kashmir, but if there is some way out to resolve the issue, what is wrong in that?"

The pilgrims will now visit the Hazratbal shrine, situated on the banks of Dal Lake, which houses a relic of Prophet.

They will also pay obeisance at the shrine of Sheikh Makhdoom Sahib, another highly revered local Muslim saint.

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed will also host an iftar party for them.


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